Singaporeans challenge SMRT Trains’ claim that hefty S$86m loss is due to declining ridership

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SMRT cited a decline in ridership and higher maintenance expenses as it posted a hefty S$86 million after-tax loss for the 2018 financial year ending Mar 31, on its website yesterday. The hefty loss comes after the transport operator recorded a post-tax profit of S$26 million in the last year.

Reporting that ridership fell from 768 million to 753 million, with average weekday ridership dropping from 2,353 to 2,258, SMRT Trains posted that revenue took a hit due to this fall in ridership and lower average fares and went down to S$743 million from S$791 million the previous year.

Meanwhile, operating expenses climbed from S$785 million to S$838 million, apparently due to higher maintenance costs.

key financial figs for smrt

Besides this, SMRT Trains’ CEO Lee Ling Wee noted that the company “recognises that commuter satisfaction has declined in the last year”.

He added: “Learning from the 7 October tunnel flooding episode, we have tightened work processes and supervisory checks across all levels in the organisation, and will use resources more effectively as we get our renewal and maintenance efforts firmly back on track in building infrastructure and facilities management.”

Singaporeans reacting to the hefty loss, however, did not appear to be too assuaged by Lee’s assurances.

Several netizens questioned whether the claim that the decline in ridership is one of the causes of the S$86 million loss is really true since commuters are still “packed like sardines” when they take the trains:

Others called on SMRT to slash the salaries of its senior management to save money:

Still others expressed concerns that a transport fare hike will follow SMRT Trains announcement of their hefty after-tax loss: